US plan to send missile system to S Korea unchanged

Washington-The political upheaval underway in South Korea has not dissuaded the U.S. from sending a heavily-sought anti-missile system to South Korea, the White House said Friday.

"I'm not aware of any change in plans for the deployment of this anti-ballistic missile battery in South Korea," spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters as South Korean President Park Geun-hye's impeachment heads to that nation's top court .

Earnest further emphasized that Washington's commitment to South Korea's security is ironclad.

"It's our hope and expectation that the U.S. commitment to that alliance and support for the South Korean people, even as they face this menacing threat from North Korea, will not change, despite some of the changes in government that are slated for the months ahead," he said.

The planned deployment of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system to South Korea has irked China and Russia, which view the system with suspicions that it could be used against them.

Washington and Seoul maintain, however, that the system is intended to deter potential missile attacks from the North. They agreed in July to the deployment of the system amid mounting ballistic and nuclear tests by the North that have drawn international condemnation.

The allies are planning to station the THAAD system on the peninsula by May, despite strong opposition from Moscow and Beijing.

One of the main THAAD concerns for opposition lawmakers - apart from environment and health claims - is the impact on South Korea's relationship with China.

Some analysts believe Beijing has already started punishing the South through unofficial trade restrictions since Seoul and Washington announced their missile defense plan earlier this year.

Source: Pakistan Observer